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Anitra Brown

What's A Massage Therapist Worth?

By May 7, 2009

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Prices for a massage or facial at resort spas keep getting higher -- $150 for fifty minutes is about as low as it goes, once you've paid tax and tip, and $200 is more typical. And at some luxury spas, a massage can go much higher (especially if it's called an "experience" or "ritual.") The therapist who performs the service might get anywhere from $30 to $60, which includes the tip. But some spa consultants, like one I heard at a spa convention in New York City, are telling managers they're overpaying the staff.

The particular consultant said spas should only pay $20 per treatment (plus tip), minimum wage if the therapist doesn't have a booking. And if therapists don't like it, let them leave. I found the sentiment more disturbing than the actual numbers. It seems that so much money and attention has gone into building fabulous facilities, that we've forgotten that it's ultimately about what happens between the therapist and the client in the treatment room.

Massage school is more expensive than ever, jobs are hard to find, and it's getting harder to make a living even if you find a job. Most spas (especially day spas) don't pay benefits. Some spas charge therapists "back bar" fees -- the cost of the supplies -- which is another way to bring wages down. If there are no appointments (and lately that's all too common), they tell you not to come in -- no pay, of course! Many spas keep therapists shy of "full-time" so they don't have to give them benefits.

People who are considering going to massage school or esthetician school might want to rethink whether this is still a good way to make a living. And as consumers, we should start thinking about finding a great therapist who works for themselves (or at a spa that treats them well) and seeing them regularly. That way, we'll get their best work -- and they'll be decently paid.

May 7, 2009 at 6:41 pm
(1) MoneyMateKate says:

Wow, thanks for the update on all the reasons why I never have and never will work for a spa, here in NYC or anywhere else. It’s totally worth the hassle of organizing my own insurance and other benefits.

May 8, 2009 at 10:25 am
(2) thoughttravler says:

The sentimate expressed by the cold hearted consultant, leaves me with chills at what that will do to the industry. However, if spas want to treat their employees like pieces that can be disguarded, that is the quality that will be reflected to the client and the most beautiful spa on the outside will be slowly crumbling on the inside and eventually “spa’s” will be a thing of the past. I’m for going back to the the one on one, small business Skin Therapist where they care and give result oriented treatments!

May 8, 2009 at 10:36 am
(3) Rita says:

Thank you so much for this article. As a therapist, I’ve seen this to be very true! Most people are not at all aware of how little the therapist earns in a spa or how overworked they can be physically with sometimes doing 6-8 hours of massage daily. And the pay is even worse at the budget places like Massage Envy! It may not have the spa frills, but it’s definitely better to support the independent therapists out there, who tend to charge less than a spa but who will give you a much better treatment. :)

May 8, 2009 at 10:48 am
(4) Eunice says:

It’s a common thing especially in Asian countries where therapists are paid below minimum wage (as low as $2.00 a day), get no benefits and no future career ladder to hold on to. For them, it’s not an enticing job/ career to get into because of how they are already being paid. Thereby making people re-think if going to massage or spa school is worth the money and time they invested. Or perhaps massage and spa schools give only the glitters and sell the sizzle? Investors, spa owners and directors need to rethink about practicing “fair trade and labor” too in order to attract more qualified people whose passion is into the massage, spa and wellness industry.

I hope that in the long-run we all can make a commitmment in adding value to the industry by paying people what they are really worth or at least be able to make a decent living from what they do.

Eunice from the Philippines

May 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm
(5) Annelise says:

The article is worrying to me. Being a therapist that moved into Spa management and distribution, I am extremely excited about our industry. Having a consultant make those remarks, she is killing her own job. We need to support each other, between businesses, between spa’s, between therapists. That is the only way we will lift the industry, by working together!

May 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm
(6) Esther says:

I agree with Annelise! As a massage school director of a public institution, which is VERY reasonable economically for a massage therapy education and a Licensed Massage Therapist for eleven years, I do not agree with all that this consultant has to say. Recent statistics from the AMTA and NCBTMB show that job outlook and pay is on the rise for massage therapists. This a a lucrative and ever changing field, and there are many spas, especially here in South Florida that pay their therapist very well. In these stressful economic times, massage therapy is one industry that is growing! How about a postive spin on our industry? I appreciate that massage therapists should make more money, but again, there are many spas that do pay very well. The consultant suggests “rethinking” massage school. How about doing research on the many public institutions that offer massage education at a fraction of the cost of private schools? If these articles are posted, how about including valid and current research ?

May 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm
(7) Skip Williams says:

I read this article today with much interest, and while I agree that therapists are very special people and with many other parts of the piece, the present pay system is unfair to both providers as well as to the business itself.

It is accurate to state that schools are expensive, there are usually no benefits, and that you make nothing unless you are working on a client. These are the very reasons that the compensation system must change!

From the owners point of view the math is simple: When a provider gets a 40%-50% and then you add worker’s comp, employers share of taxes, and the supplies/laundry it takes to provide a service then ownership is left with a paltry 25 cents on each revenue dollar to then pay for front desk wages, rent, insurance, debt repayment (on an expensive facility), etc. and hope to make something themselves. The overhead on even a small spa is huge and few providers understand how much it costs to get good clients into their chair.

When the economy was good less than 50% of Spas made money or profit (I know that is hard to believe, but I see the income statements of hundreds of spas each year for the last 10 or so years). Now that the economy has gone south spa businesses are closing at a phenomenal rate. Almost none are making money and their owners will inevitably lose their homes and their children’s future education! If something is not done then therapist will make huge commissions on zero services, or work themselves out of a job all together!

In the words or Lee Iacocca, “we have jobs for everyone at $20 per hour, but no jobs for anyone at $22 an hour”. Ever increasing commission structures are killing this industry and we are working ourselves out of a job!

Some therapists when gratuities are included are making 6 figure incomes, while others are starving. Some weeks of months a therapist makes big bucks and then in the off seasons they have to go on welfare to feed their children. The inequity in this industry astounds me… And change must occur else our industry will extinct, we can no longer just raise prices to attempt to fix the problem!

Just because a therapist can put an ad in the paper and make $50 an hour when they are on their own does not mean they should make $50 per hour when working in the Spa. A therapist should look at which works best for them in the long run. Most self employed Out Call therapist make 10-12 thousand per year, in a Spa they may make less per hour, but they make far more each week.

So I ask you the same question “what is a therapist worth?” Many would prefer to make 50% commission on a $65 massage than a 35% commission on a $125 massage. Many would like to say they make $50 an hour but won’t tell you that they only do two services a week. Some I have interviewed don’t understand why the Spa has to keep any of the money charged to the client.

I would recommend that the schools do a better job not only in what they promise that these folks will make but also in doing the math.

I recently met a lady who was a therapist at a major casino in Las Vegas, she admitted that she works 32 hours a week and earns over $100,000 per year. I have to ask in what world is a 32 hour employee worth over 100k a year when downstairs there are dedicated employees working 60-70 hours a week and making less than 50k a year? So what is a therapist worth? And why aren’t they all making over 100k a year? If you can say that one is worth it then they all should be right?

Our industry needs to not reduce what we pay therapists but instead change how we pay them. They need more security and the owner’s need more profit. Providers need to be more dedicated to the financial health of the business and owners need to ne more loyal to their work force.

The business model is broken and that is what we at Resources & Development are trying to fix. The whole thing is upside down for both parties and this economic slump is a perfect time to fix it, else owners and therapists alike will find themselves on the street.

(Go to http://www.resourcesanddevelopment.com/FixCompNow.htm for more info)

Best Wishes & Healthy Profits
Skip Williams

May 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm
(8) Madison (MST) says:

Anitra, thanks for posting this. It is an important topic and I’ve been reading the comments with great interest. Ultimately I think this kind of discussion can be very beneficial. It’s a wonderful industry and all the problems can be overcome with entrepreneurial thinking and exchange of ideas that move us forward.

May 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm
(9) Yvonne says:

As a current therapist who used to run a major spa as the director and as a instructor of massage I have seen 3 sides. I understand that the spas need to make a profit, the schools need to make a profit and the therapists do as well. I must say that the schools lie out right about how much a MT can make. I have never ever met a mt who made a 6 figure income and I have interviewed in the thousands. As a therapist I also know that If I do more than 20 massages a week I won’t last more than 5 years, so who wins? I think this is why there are so few great therapist.. no one to nurture the nurturers..
Thanks for the article..
Still waiting on the MT Union..

May 9, 2009 at 12:08 am
(10) Renu Madan says:

I am so glad that that I went through this articles of yours. I am running and Academy where I teach courses related to skin, hair, make-up, sari-tying, spa and nail extension and nail art.www.anbns.com.
In my career span of 23 years, I have never seen the kind of exploitation that is happening in today’s time.Its happening everywhere including India.
I feel as a cosmetology teacher, It’s our duty to guide and ounsel the employees and employer both to understand the implications of this.
I would like to be a part of this movement if it starts anywhere in the world. Do inform me in case you take a step – I would like to put my efforts and walk along with you for the betterment of the cosmetology fraternity.

May 9, 2009 at 1:56 am
(11) CC Dionne says:

Reading these comments have only validated what I really feared was happening. Pay less? As a therapist of 12 plus years in a high end spa, and previously as a manager, I have sincerely come to regret the years I have spent in a spa working 6 – 8 hours a day doing massage. I have hurt myself more than once, I go to sleep with my hands and arms numb, and have had given my heart and soul to a client only to have them barely say thank you when leaving my table.
Clients believe that we as therapist’s are making phenomenal money, when that is just not the case. I am and have been one of the most requested therapist in most of my spa scenario’s but I am barely holding on. And now?
What happens when I finally do reach my professional end? Who will help me to pay my medical bills?
This consultant tells employers to just let them leave ? Not just anyone can do massage, even with a top notch school. I know I have interviewed therapists who have paid up to 20,000 for a school of 700 hours plus ,of whom, during the practical, I wanted to beg to have them stop rubbing me the wrong way.
Truth is, it is a gift, the gift of nurture, not just anyone, trained or not can pull this off. Imagine trying to nurture 5 to 7 clients a day. The physical and mental toll is extreme. Still, I love my job, I love helping others to feel alive, pain free. I just have to come to the conclusion it is time to create a situation for myself and my clients that is fair to both of us. It is time to be independent.
The industry has failed to nurture talent and evolving towards a talent spa has to be the future for the spa industry in order to survive.
If a client has for his or her’s first time, a lousy or unproductive massage, they will not come back. I have heard it from those who determined to try again, and were so thankful for the skill, intuitive, professional touch they received from me.
If spa’s can not make ends meet, that is not the talented therapist’s fault. There are far too many, let’s be honest, they are on every corner.It is time to turn to a talent based spa and let those who try and turn our gifts into mass produced products fail.
Pay your therapist’s well, create advancement opportunity’s, hire the best, and you shall succeed.
Remember that this therapist, is in a room most likely without control of temperature, fresh air, and adequate breaks. Giving and giving only to be abused by employers who are starry eyed and ignorant to the reality’s of what it takes to provide a service worthy of $200 dollars. These same employers who keep lowering the pay, hoping to have the client bay the balance with an additional tip are delusional, many of my clients tip fairly and generously, but there are those who are tapped out with the high cost of the service who walk away giving nothing extra for the therapist, who sadly depends on this extra tip to supplement their income. Who can blame them. The spa I currently provide service for, they have an additional service charge on top of the cost and tip to cover a new city ordinance forcing employers to provide insurance to workers.
Yes, there are too many spa’s, the demand for service is there, but consumer’s have come to expect and should expect a service that excels in every way. The responsibility is even. The spa provides the atmosphere, the therapist the talent. That is worth 50/50 in my book.
Clients are not happy with Massage Envy, or Massage Heights, they want quality. There is hope, change to a talent based spa, give your therapist’s every dime they are worth… and let Massage Envy have the ones that are not.

May 9, 2009 at 3:49 am
(12) Sunny Moritz says:

Wonderful article about what a Therapist is worth. I am both Licensed as an Esthetician (I’m still paying off that school loan). Almost six thousand dollars and three wasted years later I realized I love being a Massage Therapist. I worked for the Hyatt in Incline Village, starting at 30% , annual %5 increase, capped at 50%. So the last two years I made 50%. I am the type of therapist who doesn’t give a hotel massage. I give all that is in me and I was voted ‘One of the Best Massage Therapist in Tahoe’. As long as I make $50 an hour I am happy, so if the spa pays $40 plus my tip, I usually make $60 per hour. Not any more at the Hyatt, once they build a $20 Million dollar spa they dropped everyone to 20%. I too heard we were making too much money. When I was at 50% I never made more than $39K a year. That was too much??? Therapist are the reason they come back, at least in my case it is. How dare them to treat us so poorly. We have only so many massages we can do before we breakdown and need work ourselves. They certainly don’t appreciate what we give. Thank you, I think you do. Are you also a therapist? Mahalo, Sunny Moritz

May 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm
(13) David says:

Thank you SO much for posting this article.

I, too, have seen the value of massage therapists decline in the eyes of their employers over the 8 years I’ve been in the industry.

It is sad to say, but even large companies want to treat LMTs like they are not employees by moving “full-time” and “part-time” positions to “on-call”, which do not connotate health benefits or company-assisted…well, anything!

I can see that company-assisted or -provided benefits can make up for the difference between what independent and employee LMTs earn, but when the equality drops suddenly or obviously, it is time for the employer to re-evaluate what they are paying for.

Amongst the things an employer is paying for is a government-funded loan, starting at $5,000 (I paid/am paying $11,000), used at a government-approved and -monitored (hopefully!) school. Licensing alone costs big money these days, and National Certification is not cheap either when you consider application, renewal, and continuing education that is required for MOST of all state’s/local licenses.

This regulatory factor in the cost of keeping a well-qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced LMT on staff is ONLY ONE cost of the LMT to perform a massage.

Bottom line: You get what you pay for, and if companies want to pay less, they’ll get less. Unfortunately, that reflects on the company when the customer is not happy with their massage. And that, in turn, reflects on the industry, and Massage Therapy as a viable health care alternative.

The good news is that there are clients that SEE that difference and will seek out qualified LMTs…for a fair price, where price is not a motivator for purchasing the service. Those are the clients in my private practice – my “employers”. And they pay considerably less than spa prices for my personalized, on-site services.

May 10, 2009 at 12:11 am
(14) Buddy says:

I am the owner of a full service day spa and hair salon in N.C. and I truly feel for both parties. I have read comments from both sides of the issue and I will add my two cents. That is about what I make as an owner and I pay a 50-50 split and take care of all backbar supplies. I understand the delima of the staff member from the health point as well as the financial point but I also must say that from a fanicial point I cannot make ends meet after paying all the bills. It just doesn’t leave me anything to support my family. I have been in business for six years and we have increased our gross profit at a rate of 30-50% per year over the last three years. The more we take in a year the more the bottom line is the same. I would love to speak with anyone who has an answer to this situation to contact me. My spa and salon staff members are my adopted family and I have some of the very best in each department and I hate to see them lose their job but that is where it is heading if we do not find some answers to both sides of the situation. Fortunately, I have not had to depend on this business to make a living but it is taking it’s toll. I hope someway the owners and the staff members out there will find a way to survive.

May 10, 2009 at 11:17 am
(15) Lynn S.B. says:

I, too, am the owner of a small day spa, in Kittery, Maine, and I have been paying all my professional staff a 50% commission on all services, and absorbing the cost of all back bar, laundry, receptionist, insurance, cleaning, etc., costs, and I can’t do it any more. Although revenue has remained about the same, costs have increased dramatically over what they were when we started 5 years ago. I have to change my compensation structure or close, which is to no-one’s benefit. So, I am considering decreasing %age commission, requiring staff to do their own laundry, charging them for back bar products used, requiring them to do some marketing, etc. Any other suggestions that anyone has to help my small business stay open and providing employment for my eight staff members would be enormously appreciated.

May 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm
(16) Skip Williams says:

Lynn & Buddy,

Please take a look here and then contact me.


This is a fixable problem, and despite what others are thinking it is NOT about paying less, it is about paying more fairly, providing more security, and working more effeciently. This needs to be a win-win for both employee and employer else there are no jobs and no businesses.

It should not be about simply cutting everyones pay…

Best Wishes & Healthy Profits
Skip Williams

May 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm
(17) Gayla Coughlin says:

This is the reason I do not work in spas. The management believes us to be expendable, when in reality we are very valuable. Touch therapy of any kind requires a great deal of skill, and even more intuition to deliver a truly nurturing and healing session. I have come across way too many people who have been disappointed at paying exorbitant rates for a mediocre massage from an exhausted and uncaring therapist.

Take into consideration the burn out rate for the average spa therapist is one year. We are done before we pay off the student loan.

So we spent all that money for school, only to make less than an In N Out Burger manager. How’s that for perspective?

You have seriously undervalued the qualified therapist.

In spite of all the spa costs (rent, laundry, etc.) NO spa will ever pay the rent off of the services alone. Everyone knows it’s the product sales that carry it. the services have always been a small percentage of income.

By treating therapists as a dime a dozen, the spa will see itself shrink into emptiness, because the people will follow their therapist into independent practice, because it’s the therapist they are coming to see (or the esthetician, or the hair stylist, or the nail tech).

People go where their favorite people are. And if spas treat us badly, we will not be going there.

May 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm
(18) Massage Therapist U.com says:

Yes, MTs are worth more, but often find it hard to boost their income in other ways such as retail, rescheduling and building their business.

Owners are paying 80% BEFORE payroll to keep their doors open.

A 50/50 split of 20% would be fair, but unlikely.

Skip is right, the industry needs revamped…

Therapists need to learn business skills…

And everyone needs to keep a smile on their face :)

Massage Therapist University

May 12, 2009 at 5:04 pm
(19) Janet says:

Wow! There are bad owners and bad therapists. That is just life folks. Everyone has a story to tell and that’s what makes for an interesting blog and commenting area. I think that each side thinks the grass is greener. For instance some massage therapists really want to be physical therapists and some physical therapists want to be massage therapists. Each thinks the other is making more money. Some compassionate owners are giving away the farm to their employees and closing up a year later because they haven’t figured out that paying 40 – 50% will put them under. And shame on their accountants for not picking up on this too! Who deserves 50% of a published price? what? Fair wages that are standard and even and cover therapists when they have down time, etc. are the way to go. Lynn and Buddy you better hook up with Skip soon and start making some money. Your business is not a hobby. Love Skips’ comment – listen to what the man says. And Anitra, come over to my business some day and see what I deal with having 10 employees and rent and supplies and marketing and etc. etc. and then tell me if I’m the bad guy. Nope. Not here. My employees have purchased houses on a flat wage system. Don’t scare these massage therapists (which is what you did) – they take people at face value and now they are thinking their school was right – they SHOULD be making $100,000 only working 3 days a week. What? The schools are doing the bait and we end up getting yelled at because the therapists think we “switched” on them. Talk to more owners Anitra! You’ll find that we are ok people, fair and balanced and a bit tired trying to please everyone. And I mean everyone! Still love it though! Good dialogue here. (LISTEN TO SKIP!!)

May 12, 2009 at 11:47 pm
(20) Rhana Pytell says:

What an excellent discussion. Thank you Anitra for initiating this important dialogue. As a member of the Green Spa Network and chair of the program committee I write and speak on Spa Industry Sustainability, the triple bottom line of business profit, people and planet. http://www.greenspanetwork.org
The spa industry grew rapidly and lost its balance – huge capital costs and overhead increased the retail prices of services and put pressure down on employee compensation. Our industry in the U.S. is far from sustainable for the reasons many here have suggested. We must generate profits, we must deliver quality to our clients and we must provide compensation to employees that enables them to live with dignity, security and safety and all this while not damaging or wasting our planetary resources. Cynicism about massage therapists has been endemic in the industry and this theme is way beyond its “sell by” date.

Greening operations and cultivating quality is easy compared to consistently delivering profits and equitable compensation in our current economic times. Obstacles to our individual and collective success include compensation systems that are not sustainable, business processes and policies that can be a negative impact on the health and wellness of the service providers, and cost structures that are not sustainable in these times.

We are at a time of reinvention of what seems like everything, the spa industry is no exception. A process of Backcasting is a helpful tool for visioning the future and working backwards to determine what we need to do today and what steps will take us there.

For a free 30 minute coaching call on achieving the triple bottom line in your spa business e-mail your request to rhana@amethystsystems.com

Check out a free download of “Spa of the Future” at http://www.amethystsystems.com

May 13, 2009 at 5:55 pm
(21) Alayne says:

Our industry needs a complete overhaul in the area of it’s attitude towards staff. When is the spa industry going to wake up and realize that without a great team who feels appreciated and valued there is no spa business. It is a disgrace and an insult to everything I work for everyday as a responsible woman business owner who like so many of us employs mostly women. I am tired of hearing spa owners complain of bad employees, weak retention and retail yet don’t want to invest in an amazing team. We lose so many spa therapists because of weak spa leaders with the attitude that consultant had and I hope we as owners can see the light and band together to improve the quality of our pay structure and business practices.

May 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm
(22) spas says:

Thanks to everyone for joining in the discussion! I just want to say that I’m not trying to scare massage therapists or said owners are “bad.” I was mostly alarmed by the consultant’s “lower their salary and let them leave if they don’t like it” attitude.

I do think that massage schools foster unrealistic expectations. I heard that same $100,000 figure in esthetician school! But ultimately what spas are selling is a treatment, which is an energy exchange. And for that to happen at a high level, there has to be respect at all levels of the spa — owners/spa directors for therapists, therapists for owners/spa directors.

I think independent day spas have an opportunity in this environment because they can offer real value compared to luxury resorts and develop a clientele that comes regularly. One idea that came out of the NY Spa conference is to offer your regulars lower prices at slow times.

Anitra Brown, Guide to Spas, About.com

May 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm
(23) CC Dionne says:

I was brought back to this discussion after viewing several others about the same topic. First, I have seen Skip posting for years, his concept is about making money. Very Well… However Skip, have you given a massage? Have you given a 5 massages? In one 7 hour shift?
Do you have a concept of quality, or is it all bout making the money..
I know what Skip’s idea is, and sadly it will not bring quality to a very expensive proposition.
I have heard time and time again, from clientle .. I had a great therapist but they quit. If this person is making such great money, why would they quit. They quit because they hurt and they were not making enough money to make it all worth while.
Massage was at one time a calling of the heart, now days many are lured in due to massage school commercial’s promising riches.
They have basically created a glut of therapists, however the schools are closing… and the hype has diminished. Massage Envy has a wicked time keeping staff, as evidenced by the prolific craigslist advertising in my area. Constant and unrelenting.
I challenge my fellow therapists to stand up for their rights, time to create a union of some sorts, that is focused on creating longevity and profitability for us. I question those who think it is unreasonable for therapists to think that they are worth 100,000 dollars, why did these Spa owners get in the biz? To make a million.
Profit margin for spas is about 5% to 12%. The answer to that million is to draw in more clients. If you cut pay, or hire newbies to increase your profit margin, you are cutting off your foot. You draw in more clients by the relationships created by your therapist. If your therapist has to work like a maniac to get by, then chances are they are not in the mood to create a relationship.
To the spa owner who was willing to share 50%
of his 20% margin, after his 80% for overhead? Where is your biz plan? If it is common for 30 to 40 % to go to overhead, that is the cost of doing business.
I read an article in one of the spa magazines, and according to their yearly research of day spa owners, by their own admissions, they are doing a ok.
My boss drives a Massaretti, lives in a cush house, the one before that doing even better, the one before that 3 Mercedes and a beautiful home in Palo Alto. My heart breaks for them. I have yet to find any of my fellow employees doing as well.
What gets owners, is seeing that money go to salary. We are your product, is not common to buy a product and double the price to get your profit. I see that in my particular spa they tripled it.
Nurses, plumbers, those who stand on their feet all day, who have all been at the mercy of there task masters, have heeded the call.
Time for a union. Time for equality.
And Anitra, god bless you for seeing both sides and understanding the ramifications of such a cowardly greedy act.

May 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(24) Favor says:

Hello everyone! I am excited that this discussion is taking place and also understanding of both sides as I currently work as a massage therapist at a salon and have two private practices of my own.

For Business Owners, I know that it seems like an excellent idea to open a spa, but without a team of qualified business professionals to help get you started, you will have difficulty that may eventually place you in a position to downsize or close. I strongly encourage business owners to contact financial advisors, CPA’s, lawyers, professionals within the industry, and have regular meetings to allow your employees to feel valued and provide opportunities for them to voice their opinions and creativity to help the business grow. Also, try thinking outside the box! What other companies or businesses would benefit from your team of professionals? How can you uplift the community in which your business is located? Always keep fair negotiation in mind when answering these questions.

For Therapists, do not be dismayed. Search yourself to find what it is you really want to do right now and for the future. Do you want to specialize in one or two modalities? Do you want to focus on medical massage or day spa treatments or medical spa treatments? Once you know what you want to do, set goals. Ask your current employer about CEU’s towards your goals to also negotiate bringing more business to their establishment. When setting these goals, keep in mind your “exit” or how you will retire/end your career. I also strongly suggest Making Time to trade massage with a co-worker or friend at least once a month for self maintainence.

Business networking and business seminares are always an excellent opportunity for business owners and massage therapists to learn, grow, and become motivated to keep our industry alive!

We must take excellent care of ourselves in order to provide excellent care for others.


October 1, 2009 at 4:30 am
(25) Robert Harris says:

The problem:
There is a Salon, Spa, Nail Shop or Massage Parlor etc,etc,etc,. some sorts on every corner Throughout the USA!….(don’t believe Me? look in Your local Phone book)
Let’s Be REAL and HONEST! There are more Beauty shops than Attorneys..(don’t Believe Me? look in the phone book and compare the two).

The Schools have made unscrupulous practices commonplace just to get warm bodies into the classes.
THEN, charge pittance rates for Providing services to “Clients” and only charge a couple of bucks extra for “Senior Students” because students have to get their Practical hours time in. Here is an interesting Paradox… because it happened to Me.

It was that I had to compete with the Schools for Clients once I graduated and other students Who graduated as well…It was TERRIBLE! (So much for that Lucrative ,Be-Your-Own-Boss Career they touted to Me)…..All the while, We are told not to resort to name-calling or any kind of trash-talk, beating each other down while scrounging from a evaporating pool of limited clientele while more and the Schools are cranking out more denizens of People every single day.This can only lead to ONE THING= LOW WAGES! The Cosmetology Field will soon be a Migrant Worker Profession like Agriculture is SOON because It is Bloated, WAY OVERSATURATED, and Overrun with Corrupt Practices in EVERY Corner and Aspect and REEKS of Desperation and Depravity. All the while, the Schools, Consultants and Product Reps. are counting the Money both from Students, Owners and “Clients” and LAUGHING at You (The Licensed labor and Salon Owners) while Your out here trying to figure a gimmick or game-plan that sets you apart from the rest, all the while Your income is nill, loans are almost impossible, Bills are piling up, and the only thing left is a heap of NOTHING!..

Here is the Solution:
All 50 States should RAISE the Standards and Requirements! Make everyone who wants to work in the Cosmetology or Massage Field an Associate Degree Minimum Field with pre-requisites and all!.. I can’t tell You guys enough what I had a couple of Nail technician Friends I know have been through, one Competitor was Down-right in their face THREATENED with Violence By the Vietnamese Gang because His Girlfriend, His Mother, Sisters, Aunts, and Cousins didn’t want competition. It is CUT-THROAT out here and everyone is an inch away from Foreclosure and despair… AND, all We are told to do by the Consultants,Schools,Product Reps etc,etc, is to Smile and Be nice and bring high standards, high-class, lift-up the profession and (that kind of non-stop rederick) don’t expose the truth and be as fake as you can about it. In other words Keep up the Facade because the Consultants, Schools, and product sales Reps. are making way too much money for some jerk like you to come along and mess it up.
O.K. Let Me see if I got this right: I am supposed to keep up a facade for YOUR Financial gain? while I starve?…


I left the Field MORE THAN DISCOURAGED!..I went to work as an Administrative Assistant and Though I RECOMMEND TO ALL 50 STATES DEPT. of BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATORY AUTHORITIES to Make every Field In Cosmetology and Massage Therapy a Full 2-Year MINIMUM ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROFESSIONS even the specialist Cosmetology fields (Nails,Skin,Hair, Waxing etc, etc,) This move will solve the bulk of the problems PLAGUING the Field Dissipate. I have PROOF of this also!
While working as an Administartive Assistant in Insurance, Financial,and Investments I learned a LOT about Business. I also continued My studies in Cosmetology. I studied like it was an Associate Degree Course and Profession on My Own. I was gaining massive amounts of knowledge and experience during this time. both in the Business and Practicing side. I didn’t Go to a College or School, I was SELF-Taught after My licensure. there are no continuing education schools, once Your Licensed, that’s it…I learned More AFTER My Licensure that anytime before or while attending school. I hear some Cosmetologists talking about “new” breakthroughs and I laugh OUT LOUD!….”NEW??” I learned of these things back in 1998 and these guys talk like it’s “New”?…I am so far ahead of the Curve and More Importantly I Provide that 2020 (ten years ahead of My time) Knowledge, Skill and RESULTS to My clients and I don’t charge them an arm, Leg, First-Born, Kid’s College Tuition, Pint of Blood, etc. to do it either…I’m Sorry but charging someone $75.00 to smear an Mineral oil, Water or Stearic acid based product on their face is a CON!..
I reference the Movie “Death Becomes Her”… The part where Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep) tells Ana the esthetician “You may as well ask Me to wash with Soap and Water” when She is offered a “Collagen Buff”..AND how the esthetician DROPS the French accent when the Salon owner/Manager Mr. Chagall surprises the esthetician unaware and He asks Her to “Go Away” so He can talk to Madelyn alone.

It’s all so much B.S. that Most “Professional Grade” Products claim to offer are TRUTHFULLY are no better than store shelf products. IN FACT, I would recommend a store shelf Item BEFORE I would recommend any Professional Grade “sold in salons only” Product and in My Business, I DO!….And here is why: No Unscrupulous Snake-Oil salespeople are welcome Here. I had this one Representative come to Me and tout How Wonderful, Awesome, Fantastic,Superior and She kept on Praising how It used “Natural” Nature made Ingredients blah, blah, blah… on and on She went… I let Her finish.

After Her Sermon, To Her surprise I had a Book of Ingredients I had studied Researched and Catalogued of National and International Patents, E.P.A. Categorized and rated Substances, Material Safety Data Sheets, and claimed Benefits of Every Ingredient of Every Product sold In the U.S. sold OTC or by any Professional Grade (I call it My PDR for Cosmetology and I update it EVERY YEAR! It is up to twice the size now! LOL)

I asked Her about One Ingredient on the Label and it stumped Her..I asked How is it You can stand Behind and Tout the Wonders of this Product when You can’t even explain what is in it and WHY it is in it?…But here I’ll tell YOU why Your Product isn’t so “Wonderful” and WHY it has these Ingredients which were mostly synthetic emulsifying “Fillers” and served no REAL useful benefit. I also pointed out to her when She tried to tell Me that it was only in the Product in “Small Amounts”.. I informed Her that the amount of Each Ingredient is listed in order by how much of that particular ingredient is in it. If the First Ingredient is water, then the Product is mostly water..I also told Her the cost It cost Her company To manufacture the Product and said a %375 mark-up was Ridiculous and in order for ME to make a profit I would have to mark it up ANOTHER %375..If ANYONE pays more than $20.00 On a Face cream (that should last for a month with twice daily use) Deserves to get ripped off, simply put: NO FACE CREAM IS WORTH MORE THAN $20.00, NO MATTER WHAT THE CLAIM IS!!!!! So, I have My own Business Now, an HONEST Business. I do Trash and Bash the Liars and Undereducated because it is about respecting My clients and giving them My best and to protect them from all the frauds out there.. If these Reps, School Owners want to “Bring-up”, “Make High-Class”, “Make Respectable” the Field…GREAT!!!!…
YOU GO FIRST! Lead the Way! I have more Clients than I know what to do with because I don’t LIE! I don’t OVERCHARGE, I don’t SELL Snake-Oil, I Stay on Top of what’s going on in My Field…Some People think Going to trade shows is how you are supposed to Keep up with what’s going on in the Field…WRONG!, When I go to trade shows I can Definately see that I am 10 Years plus ahead of EVERYONE! (and 10 years booked in advance I may as well state too LOL!) I look back when I first got My license and had to Leave because it was about 100 times past what the definition of what Competitive Means…Today, I ask, “What Competition?”..LOL! I didn’t wait for the State to make Cosmetology a Degree Profession I did that on My own, so In light of this, I am the First and thus far ONLY “Degree” Holding Professional in this field. Like it or Not! The Proof is in the Puddin’. Practicality, Responsibility, Ethical, Honest, Education, Respect, Quality, Dignity, and Trust are the STANDARD Hallmarks of a TRULY Succesful Business. Again, I have Raised the Respectability and Profile of My Profession, it’s the one’s Telling Us not to be honest about the situation Who are the ones making the REAL money with Deception that need to Leave. I currently make about $65,000+ a year and I don’t have to LIE to Make it. They are upset because they are used to making Money off our backs by Predatory Practices, I have turned the Tables on them and have become more succesful that I have anticipated by doing so, It is their backs I make the money off of now. BUT, they did it to themselves with LIES! I just saw an Opportunity and Jumped on it.

I also LOVE the way they Tout that This field is BOOMING and Growth is Phenomenal and How much You can make BIG MONEY and Success and blah, blah, blah….I think Most of all People shoul OPEN their Eyes and see WHO is spreading this Propaganda and see where THEIR Interests are In this HOAX!

October 1, 2009 at 4:53 am
(26) robert says:

Too many people,Job Market WAY OVERSATURATED!

Too much supply
+ too little demand

October 1, 2009 at 4:56 am
(27) Genevieve says:

It is that Consultant Who is Overpaid! Maybe someone should Tell Her boss that.

March 5, 2010 at 2:30 am
(28) Healing Hands says:

I just want to say thank you for this article.

April 27, 2010 at 6:40 pm
(29) Seriously? says:

“Massage school” can be done in a college health science program (at least in Texas): A college credit hour program is eligible for financial aid (PELL grants, loans, scholarships, etc.).

Additionally, despite the author’s presumed “expertise” on the subject, she fails to make the differentiation between a CE program and a year long one like mine that required full blown BIOL 2401 and 2402 (college Anatomy and Physiology I and II). It makes a difference in what you learn, and your sense of worth.

Spas and the newer massage franchise chains exploit therapists, and I am also puzzled by the consultant’s comment about “pay them less”.

As an aside, although I mean no disrespect to anyone who wants to work in a spa, not everyone wants to do that type of therapy. There are *plenty* of jobs out there for therapists well-versed in neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, orthopedic massage and other specializations.

The writer paints an inaccurate portrait of a manual movement career: In Texas, the self-employed MEDIAN therapist (working 17 hours a week, mind you) makes $56,000.

I’d encourage everyone reading this to do your own research and talk to therapists who practice specialized modalities.

April 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm
(30) Anitra says:

Hi, Thanks very much for your comment. Are you a therapist? I’m curious where you got the statistic about the self-employed MEDIAN therapist (working 17 hours a week, mind you) making $56,000.

I know a lot of therapists get out of school hoping to make a lot of money in private practice but it takes a lot of time to develop first the expertise, then the clientele.

BTW, I’m starting my own private skin care studio — http://redlotusskin.com — I hope you’re right about the money! Eventually! I think it will take a while to build.

April 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm
(31) Seriously? says:

Whoops … I need to correct my earlier post.

I was rushing, and typo’d. Median in TX (or Houston, specifically), is ±$45,000.

Pulled straight off of salary.com.

July 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm
(32) JCat says:

I have been a massage therapist for 13yrs. I’ve been one in Houston, worked at a Spa, at salons, at Chiropractic offices and had my own business there. I made the most money at the spa. But with the type of massage that I give…the kind that is very therapeutic and where I give a part of myself, whether the client was expecting that type of a massage or not…I couldn’t “take” giving THAT MANY massages in a day!! They were good employers..but I had to leave or else I knew my body wasn’t going to last! But as spa owners, they must have been doing SOMETHING RIGHT! They seemed to be very successful and treated their employees well and were very appreciative! And we had a 50/50 split! It was VERY hard to leave!!! BUT…I KNEW my body just couldn’t have lasted if I stayed there! They had a few massage therapists that WERE long time employees…but they had told me..”You are working ‘too hard’ and just give a “lighter” massage. I was appalled. I didn’t know HOW to NOT ‘work too hard’…or HOW to just give a “fluff” massage.

In my “old age” I HAVE learned how to do a “good Swedish” that is “just swedish” but ALSO a pretty GOOD one at the same time! But at THAT TIME…I just couldn’t do “relaxation only”! I HAD to do “therapeutic”! (Not that Swedish ISN’T therapeutic at ALL…but I think y’all know what I mean!)

Ok..my POINT was even working THERE…making a good split…(now that WAS years ago and the price of a massage at the spa probably HAS gone up NOW but) even working THERE…I didn’t make $40,000/yr.

It SEEMS pretty optimistic for a “MEDIAN” number! I mean it MIGHT say that on the Salary-thing place…but it’s pretty hard to CONSISTENTLY earn $50/hr plus tips!

When I had my OWN place in Houston…I charged $55/hr. BUT…had the overhead to deal with. Rent, advertising, massage cream/oil, CEUs, etc., so I prob. made less than I did at the spa. I actually worked at the spa AFTER I closed my business. I ended up closing my business because I hurt my back…and ended up having a difficult time doing ENOUGH massages to CLEAR money at the end of the month! I fell in LOVE with the spa…because I didn’t have to wash my sheets, buy my cream, pay rent or advertising or make my appts. I just showed up…and that was it!

I now live in Austin and have worked at a couple different places…still trying to find my niche here in Austin. It IS quite different that Houston. Talk about ALOT of massage therapists!!!! And so it makes it especially easy for employers to take advantage of you HERE…despite all my years of experience. I have run into employers who have the attitude of that “consultant”! “You want a “raise”? Or “You want…oh my gosh…time off for something?” You’re inconveniencing us? Well we’ll just get some younger person in that we don’t have to pay as much and who we can boss around more!!! OH and I LOVE this one. I actually worked for ONE Chiropractor who would get upset because MY clients didn’t WANT to see any other therapist. They liked MY specific massage! I specialize in “pain management” and guess what? I’m pretty good at it…and my clients would rather wait for ME…if I’m sick or out or something…than go to “JUST ANYBODY”! Well THAT “upset” my boss! Instead of thinking, “Wow. I have a good massage therapist who has “loyal clients” who will stay with her and will return to her when she gets back!” NOPE! He just saw his “bottom line” and was thinking how “that day” he missed out on one or two massages…because one of his massage therapists was sick and inconvenienced HIM!!!!! Needless to say….I no longer work for him!!!!

I’d LOVE to find some of these business owners that are on here and talk about their employees as family! That would be wonderful! : ) As it is…I’m thinking of working for myself again….because I’m tired of being treated poorly by employers!!! It’s not JUST being paid poorly…but ALSO being treated poorly. And it IS all connected…that “same” idea that that consultant said…”just let them go”…like we’re just “disposable”! THAT bothers me!!! But…IF “I” ever employ anyone…I will DEFINITELY NOT treat them like “disposable” employees. Not that I wouldn’t EVER fire someone if it was “called for”…BUT…I wouldn’t JUST have the “idea” of this revolving door of therapists that I see so often!!!

November 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm
(33) mmay says:

Did this thread just end?
I am really considering getting certified and found this discussion helpful and very scary..nothing since July, has it all been said..thx for info any way

November 8, 2010 at 12:07 pm
(34) Anitra says:

My advice is that you check out conditions in your local market, talk to working therapists and spa managers, and weigh how much it costs to go to school against the income prospects and how called you are about the work. This is a good article to read — Before You Go To Massage School —

It’s still a tough market right now. There are other ways to help people that probably have steadier income prospects — nursing, occupational therapists, etc.

October 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm
(35) LMTisi4s says:

I have been a LMT for the past 15 years. I started working at high-end resorts in the Lake Geneva area, then in Chicago. I then had my own private practice in a storefront in a busy downtown area…good money….lots of headache, stress, and hassle. For the past two years, I have been practicing massage therapy at a Massage Envy in Wisconsin. By reading some of the prior comments that speak negatively about Massage Envy, I have to conclude that you have never worked for a Massage Envy, or you have worked for one that was poorly managed. At my Massage Envy, I make $18 per hour not including commission (commissions per massage can be up to $7), I keep 100% of my gratuity (avg. $15-20 cash per/hour), I am always booked, I have a steady and regular clientele, I make my own schedule, I schedule my own half-hour breaks, I accrue paid time-off, I pay $15 a month for my $450k life insurance policy, I have a free group-life policy for 20k, , I have a flex-spending account, dental, amazing vision insurance, I have short-term disability insurance paid for (important for a therapist), I am not charged for any products used, they supply everything, and they will order something for me if I have a preference, I do not have to book any appointments, I do not have to do laundry, I do not have to clean, I do not have to sell products, I do however, have to perform a great massage. I work 5 days a week, work about 32 hrs of hands on time, and I make about 50k a year. Maybe that is not as much as some of you, but I love my job. All I have to do is massage. I love the people I work with, and the owners are wonderful people who really understand what we as therapists go through (even though we sometimes disagree on some things). There are about 25 full time massage therapists at this Massage Envy, and over 15 have been therapists for over 5 years. Every single therapist here who has worked in the spa industry looooves it here. It is the easiest job in the world, and very rewarding.

May 2, 2012 at 11:10 am
(36) Gina says:

I think it is obvious that Skip is not an LMT. Most people who don’t work in the profession don’t have a clue what it takes to become a therapist and how hard it is on the body. First off the reason a therapist is worth that kind of money is because of manual labor. It is not the same as a job where one is sitting all day. It isn’t possible to work the kind of 9 to 5 hours in this type of profession or else the body would burn out or be injured. People who have a problem with paying a therapist 40-50 dollars an hour have no idea about what this job entails. That is not even addressing the harassment and prostitution that goes on that also corrupts our profession. For the kind of healing an LMT facilitates we are worth far more that we are paid and the truth of the matter is that unless you are a therapist and walk the walk you haven’t a clue. I think that it is time that LMTs develop a union and rally together to support decent wages for our professionals. It is getting out of hand especially with the addition of franchaises, which is basically slave labor.

May 2, 2012 at 11:16 am
(37) Gina says:

To LMTisi4s: You may be making a decent living at Massage Envy but you need to recognize that by working for these franchises you are saying it is ok to pay therapists dirt cheap wages and in turn bringing the standard of pay in the industry to an all time low. You might have found a quick fix but know this you are demeaning your fellow professionals by selling out and working for places like this and this will have and has had a devastating effect as a whole on the pay rate in this industry. No one can compete with theses McDonald’s low rates. Just because you couldn’t handle being an owner of a business doesn’t mean you should ruin it for prospecitive owners. I say that LMTs need to support their fellow therapists trying to make it as opposed to supporting these franchises and people that are undercutting therapists with low hourly wages. WAKE UP PEOPLE and see the long term devastation you are causing by supporting these places.

May 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm
(38) Smooches says:

Sorry Gina. Massage Envy is an amazing place and it exists because of the trashy mess that everyone has made of this field. The sloppy lazy trash made the perfect conditions and situation for places like Massage Envy to come into existence and thrive. I personally hope Massage Envy becomes even more successful and closes all of the others down. If therapists don’t want to compete with Massage Envy then quit giving them everything they need to put you out of business. Massage Envy doesn’t have to advertise big because all of the slop filthy crap work done by all other so-called massage therapists who charge ridiculous prices for trash garbage work they perform. That is all the advertisement they need.

May 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm
(39) Smooches says:

@ Gina, Trust me, I don’t have to go into a spa or salon to look at pretty decor, I can do that in a furniture store. I don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars through the nose for a crappy massage when I could have had better massages with my Homedics vibrating chair cover for the 20 bucks I bought it for than by anyone else outside of Massage Envy … I am so sick of all the bad mouthing of Massage Envy. They must have named the establishment on the ENVY that everyone has towards them because of their success.Maybe all you folks working in salons, spas, parlors, ecetera should get the hint that you are not fabulous and “all that and a bag of chips” like you think you are. If all other spas salons were to stop it with the snobby uppty crap and sh!tty attitudes that most (if not ALL) salons and spa employees and/or contractors have. Seriously, It’s not attractive and is one of the BIGGEST turn off’s from a client’s perspective..

July 14, 2012 at 6:52 am
(40) Sv says:

I have been a massage therapist for 17 years,and found that the only way for my body and mind is able to continue for this long is to take breaks ( ie work seasonally then take 3 months off every year) I don’t know HOW therapists can work year round giving a “quality ” massage?
In reading the above comments, I too find it an insult to our work as professionals to recommend lowering our income and more for a SPA! WE ARE THE REASON CLIENTS RETURN. So if a spa did not have a massage therapist there, then what service brings clients to the spa? I agree with above that the Spa is wanting to capitalize on the sweat of our backs and pain of our hands.
Really to solve this with the increase in inflation gas prices etc is those in a high end spa is to raise the prices for the clients( inflation can hit here too) if those clients have money to be there to begin with they can afford a raise to pay for WHAT the costs to run the spa needs.
I also feel that we have too many taxes taken out of our paycheck -there should be a scale of some sort. Why should I who as a service giver of my body pay as much tax as someone who clicks on a computer, or musts sits at a desk? I feel the WHOLE system needs to be revamped

August 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm
(41) Cheryl says:

Priceless. That’s what we are worth. Mr. Skip seems to think it’s all about the dollars and cents. Really? You are comparing a regulated health care professional (in Ontario) to a regular service provider. Does a regular service provider know when and how to provide safe, effective care? That is the value we provide. It seems some of the public has this idea that we are glorified nail technicians, as does this consultant. Health care. Most RMT’s don’t get the luxury of a tip. When you do work in a spa your base income drops drastically and the tip is supposed to cover the void. Guess what? Not everyone tips and it has little to do with the service. If the spa sets an unrealistic price and goes over budget with their frilly pillows and curtains then maybe they should cut back on the decor and not the professional. Just a thought.

March 4, 2013 at 5:14 pm
(42) juju says:

we as massage therapist, should be making a reasonaable, liveable salary. After all we are the ones at risk. Touching other peoples bodies,without gloves, catching everything the client might have.(pimples,warts, etc. Even doctors and nurses wear gloves. Without us, there wouldnt be a massage.

April 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm
(43) brandy says:

Now I’m a little scared about going to school for massage therapy.

June 1, 2013 at 2:18 am
(44) violet johnson says:

I agree with skip Williams this consultant have no idea what she is talking about rents are very high 30,000 per year continuously rising a good facial massage bed can cost thousands sheets products insurance liability taxes bookkeeping cleaning that schools need to run a realistic business within the facilities so trainees gets factual information if you are making $30+ an hour you are doing well the owner is the person who puts their life savings at stake please also keep in mind no shows/violet

December 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(45) anonymously anonomous says:

Thanks for starting this topic.

My last job was supposed to be my dream job but turned into quite an ordeal. The shortened version goes something like this.

Got hired and was told I would get first dibs on clients since it was a new spa but I would need to stay all day everyday and pass out flyers.

I was willing because it was a dream workplace…so I thought.

Later after getting clients I was told I would get 50% and after receiving my checks found I was nowhere near that after they hired a new marketing manager.

Was never told even after asking. I was always given a very convoluted answer and found out I was making 7 to 15 per massage!

Then when I brought it up the manager made me feel as if I was asking too much and even had the audacity to say….”well you’re getting tipped.”

Living in LA is not cheap and neither is our energy usage.

Clearly he had no understanding.

I understand it was a new biz and quite a nice place but honestly later found out the owner was a millionaire and I was upset about that because I just feel owners should expect to not make money in the first year or so…

Anyway, I’m over it but felt good to get that off my chest!

Peace and hope the system changes soon.♥🔷♥🔷

December 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm
(46) anonymously anonomous says:

I also wanna say a that NOW I am at a much better place and feel respected as a therapist. It’s not perfect but the system makes sense for both parties.

Brandi, don’t be discouraged. For every bad experience there is a great one!!

There are a lot of benefits to massage..just make sure its what you want!

There is the working part-time and making decent money that is true.
You just gotta sift through the jobs! ;)

December 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm
(47) anonymously anonomous says:

Word of advice to new therapists looking for work.

Try to find a job with a massage therapist as the owner ! ;)

They will usually pay u fairly and be more understanding !

January 6, 2014 at 11:51 am
(48) Gen says:

I plan on being a mobile massage therapists–business on the way kind of thing! Be my own boss–along with holistic nutrition certificate, and sales!

January 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm
(49) Ky says:

This is why the massage therapists don’t last more than 7 yrs at their career!! Try going to a massage envy type place where they pay the therapist like $5 hr and all they get is the 18-20% gratuity the client is forced to leave for them!! Many high end resorts now only pay between 1-5% commission for your service and then they pay you the 18-20% gratuity from what the client leaves. This way the actual spa doesn’t pay you, but essentially it’s the clients tip that you are paid with!! Massage school is 10k at least and then it takes a lot of wear and tear on ones own body to do this work and spas are getting cheaper and cheaper with the help….you know, the people that actually help to make the spa a divine experience and give sweat and energy to make the magic happen…so unappreciated!!!

February 5, 2014 at 7:39 pm
(50) Denise Brown says:

As a massage therapist for the last 9 years it makes me sick to see Spa’s pay so little and expect so much from there therapist – To me these franchise business are becoming close to slave labor for the professional massage therapist.

I agree with the article – touch is very personal – It is not fast food and everyone deserves to make a livable wage – Spa owners are getting rich and the massage therapist is living in the poor house.

With out us there is no “Day Spa”

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